I was recently fortunate enough to join an informative discussion with Dove that centred around how to create meaningful connections with your kids and in doing so build their confidence and self-esteem.
Teaching kids about confidence and self-esteem is often something we take for granted. We assume if we are confident, they will just also be confident and assured. Unfortunately, there is a little bit more that goes into it than that. It is not enough for us as parents to simple model confidence we actually have to work on actively engaging our children in conversations that empower them and equip them with these valuable life skills.
The #DoveDayAtHome event was a part of the Dove Self Esteem Project. This project aims to help children to feel more empowered and feel included. The aim of the project is to help a quarter of a billion children by 2030.
We heard from 3 parents who shared their lessons and ideas on how we can improve our relationships with our kids and ultimate build a meaningful connection with them.
Sthandiwe Kgoroge highlighted the power of words and had her daughter with her to really show just how much words can make or break a child. She said that parents are like life jackets – they can either build their children up or they can destroy them through the words that they use.
She went on to share some really valuable tips on how you can use words to help build your child up.
- Conversations need to happen early on. Don’t wait until your child is a pre-teen or is being bullied to have conversations about body positivity or confidence, start these conversations early on.
- Teach your child to recognise their feelings and empower them to have the courage to call out harmful words.
- Representation is essential. It is important for your child to see people who look and sound like they do. When your child can see people like them, they feel like they are different and that is not always a good thing.
- Words of affirmation are incredibly powerful Sthandiwe and her daughter say the following affirmation every single morning.
I am beautiful
I am brave
I am creative
I am kind
I am smart
Terence Mentor (aka Afrodaddy) also had some really invaluable tips to share on how to really connect with your child.
Don’t try to be their BFF. The first point Terence made was that it is ok to not be your child’s friend. In fact, you goal should not be to be their friend. I have a close relationship with all four of children, even the teens but we are not bff’s. It is possible to have a good relationship with your child without being their best friend.
Let them direct the play. This can be tough but let your child tell you how they want to play, don’t try to take over. If you are constantly directing play, they will learn that what they want to do doesn’t have value.
Acknowledge their ideas. When your child with the biggest imagination starts sharing their ideas, they may sound crazy but listen, acknowledge them, and give them a try. When you acknowledge their ideas, you are telling them that you value their input.
Don’t undermine their feelings. If you child feels anger, let them feel that, even if you can’t really understand what made them angry. Talk to them, let them explain why they feel the way they do, avoid undermining those feelings, rather acknowledge them and let them feel them.
Talk things through. When you hit a bump, take the time to talk about their feelings, share your feelings and together work through those emotions and if necessary find a solution that will work for both of you.
Be their safe space. When your child hits an obstacle, are you the first person they go to or the last person? It is so important that your child knows, with certainty, that you will be there for them no matter what. You may not always agree with or condone the choices they have made but you will always be there for them.
It was such an informative session and even though I have been a parent for 18 years, I am still learning and growing as a parent.
Dove also has a whole host of free resources for you to download and sue when you need to. You can find all of these resources on the Dove website.
To help you navigate this journey I have a box of awesomeness from Dove up for grabs. This box of goodies is valued at R2000 and is a great way to help you start building your child’s self-esteem.
Leave a comment telling me the favourite thing you and your child do together.
Competition closes on the 16 November and my usual T&C’s apply!